The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 30, 2011

Hundreds attend Memorial Day ceremony at Woodring Wall of Honor

ENID — A teary-eyed Denise Rocha-Groves accepted an American flag and other items from Blue Star Mothers Monday morning at Woodring Wall of Honor Memorial Day service at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.

Rocha-Groves’ son, Senior Airman Codi R. Rocha, was honored Monday morning at the event.

Rocha, who previously had served in the Air Force overseas in Jordan, died earlier this year after a car accident in the U.S. claimed his life.

“It was just awesome,” Rocha-Groves said about her son being remembered at the service.

Her husband, Dennis Groves, also was pleased with the recognition.

“It’s a good feeling to know when the state of Oklahoma is willing to honor its soldiers,” he said.

Rocha was recognized along with other Oklahomans Sgt. Jason J. McCluskey, Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, Spc. Charles S. Jirtle, Staff Sgt. Vinson B. Adkinson III, Spc. Jared C. Plunk, Spc. Ryan J. Grady, Sgt. Andrew R. Looney, Cpl. Eric Wozencraft, Cpl. Frank Woodruff Buckles and Lt. Col. William Kieffer.

Each had their name placed on the Woodring Wall of Honor.

Maj. Gen. Ricky G. Adams, deputy commanding general for Army National Guard, gave a keynote address about how people in the United States live the way they do because of soldiers, past and present.

Everyone in the United States, Adams said, are benefactors of what troops abroad and even fighting in our own country have accomplished.

In his speech, Adams mentioned the death of Osama Bin Laden.

“Terrorists shook the foundations of our tallest buildings, but they did not shake the foundations of America,” he said.

That received rousing applause from the hundreds in attendance.

Ashton Edwards of Oklahoma City’s NewsChannel 4 led the Memorial Day service at the airport.

Edwards is the daughter of the station’s late investigative reporter Brad Edwards, who earlier served in the Air Force and is listed on Woodring Wall of Honor.

Mayor Bill Shewey welcomed everyone to the service and told them to thank a veteran “every time (they) can.”

Tom LeGrand, pastor of First Baptist Church of Garber, gave an invocation. Kiowa Black Leggings Honor Society presented the colors, holding the flag up front while attendees said the Pledge of Allegiance. Lucy Newlin of Stillwater sang the national anthem.

Next, Yolanda Middleton, Woodring Wall of Honor president, briefly spoke about Woodring Wall of Honor and American soldiers.

“They are our real American idols,” Middleton said of the soldiers.

Middleton mentioned the groundbreaking for Woodring Wall of Honor’s veterans museum temporarily has been put on hold. Donations still are being collected for the museum.

Oklahoma Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, made his first of two appearances at the podium as he introduced Adams.

After Adams’ address, Newlin sang “This is Worth Fighting For.” Blue Star Mothers held a Blue to Gold Ceremony for the Rocha-Groves family, followed by a recognition of families in attendance who had died.

Jackson gave a short speech dedicating Woodring Wall of Honor for the names added.

After all the names were read, Dr. Joe Bryant led a moment of silence, and “Taps” was played.

LeGrand officially ended the service with a benediction.

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